Mission Statement and By-Laws

Mission

The Yale Postdoctoral Association (YPA) exists to support and enrich Yale’s mission in the pursuit of scholarship, education, preservation, and practice, through facilitating postdoctoral scholars at Yale University in their efforts toward the betterment of the university and society by:

  1. Acting as a liaison for postdoctoral scholars to the university and representing the interests of postdoctoral scholars to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) and to the Schools and Offices of Yale University
  2. Supporting the professional development of postdoctoral scholars by connecting them to Yale University resources and enriching the available career development opportunities
  3. Fostering connections between postdoctoral scholars to create a community network at Yale University
  4. Encouraging inclusion and diversity among all postdoctoral scholars at Yale University, and advocating on their behalf to achieve a supportive and enriching environment

The YPA strives to maintain diversity among scientific disciplines as well as advocate for national and foreign national representation in the postdoctoral community. The YPA also seeks to promote diversity and inclusion for all postdocs in YPA membership, leadership, and activities regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, national origin, socioeconomic status, or religion. 

Membership

We consider all individuals with the title of Postdoctoral Associate or Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University members of the YPA. Any individual who meets these criteria is eligible to serve on the YPA Executive Board in any capacity.

Organization

The structure of the YPA is as follows:

  1. The overarching organization of the YPA and the Executive Committee shall be overseen by two (2) Co-Chairs with roles to be outlined further in the succeeding sections of this document.
  2. The YPA Executive Committee shall oversee the creation and management of activities, partnerships, and overall vision of the YPA in accordance with its mission. The YPA Executive Committee shall be organized into the following working groups:
    1. Professional Development: In charge of organizing career events, seminars, and workshops with the goal of preparing postdocs for careers both inside and outside of academia, and organizing activities with the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Office of Career Strategy.
    2. Networking: In charge of organizing events to bring postdocs together in informal settings with the goal of facilitating collaboration and friendships across all disciplines at Yale University, and cooperating with the Office of International Students and Scholars, as well as other groups on campus, to generate programming for postdocs to explore their community.
    3. Advocacy: In charge of advocating on behalf of postdocs to address unmet needs in the postdoc community, particularly those related to inclusion, diversity, and their general wellbeing, and identifying areas where the YPA can support postdocs to enrich their experience at Yale University.
    4. Communications: In charge of advertising all YPA events via managing our mailing list, cooperating with subcommittee coordinators to create flyers, generating the monthly newsletter, managing the web presence (Website, Facebook, etc.) and developing the YPA brand. 
  3. The YPA Subcommittee members are volunteers who assist with the logistical details of event organization.
  4. Any changes or amendments made to this document, shall be compiled by the YPA Co-Chairs and affirmed by the majority of the YPA Executive Committee through a formal written vote (hand-written or electronic).

Meetings

  1. The regular meetings of the YPA Executive Committee shall be open to all postdocs, and held on the second Tuesday of every month at 6:00pm in a location to be determined by the YPA Executive Committee members. The meetings shall be scheduled for one hour. Unfinished business shall be relegated to the next meeting.
  2. Meetings with the YPA Subcommittee’s shall be held as needed.

Officers

The officers of YPA shall include two (2) Co-chairs, two (2) Professional Development subcommittee coordinators, two (2) Networking Subcommittee coordinators, two (2) Advocacy subcommittee coordinators, and two (2) Communication officers who shall hold office for a year. All current postdocs are eligible for nomination to any officer position, provided that they intend, to the best of their knowledge, to remain as a postdoc at Yale for the duration of their term. The planned hand-over of duties is twice a year (e.g. June and December) with an overlap of six (6) months in order to maintain institutional knowledge, unless otherwise required. A postdoc wishing to fill an open officer position in the YPA needs to express interest at one of the monthly meeting, or by e-mail, to the Co-Chairs after the announcement of an open position. Nominations for these roles can be put forth by the postdoc seeking the position or another postdoc, and shall be elected by an open vote during the monthly meeting. If two postdocs desire to fill the same position, preference shall be made to the postdoc involved in the association for a longer period of time, defined by attendance at the monthly meetings, participation in the organization and implementation of YPA events.

Before leaving their position, the outgoing officers shall inform the steering committee two months in advance and be willing to train the incoming officer, as well as pass all information and access (web, mailing list, Facebook administrative privilege, etc.) depending on the role.

Roles

Co-Chairs

Preference for this role shall be given to those who have served as an officer on the YPA Executive Committee. The role of the Co-Chairs is to lead the association in collaboration with the Executive Committee. Therefore, the responsibilities of the Co-Chairs are as follows:

  • Schedule the monthly meetings of the YPA Executive Committee, and prepare and disseminate the agenda at least one day before the meetings.
  • Maintain a strong and active relationship with the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.
  • Maintain active relationships with the Professional Development, Networking, and Advocacy subcommittee coordinators, as well as the Communication Officers.
  • Ensure suggestions, issues, and concerns brought to the YPA are discussed in the monthly YPA meetings.
  • Oversee the timely election of new officers.
  • Co-facilitate the scheduled monthly meetings in accordance with the YPA By-laws.
  • Maintain a record of monthly YPA Executive Board meeting attendance and determine if a quorum is present when required.
  • Maintain the YPA email address by replying to emails or directing them to the appropriate YPA subcommittee in a timely manner.
  • Meet together once a month separately from the YPA steering committee meetings to discuss upcoming events, activities, and partnerships of the organization.
  • Encourage active participation of postdocs and YPA members in subcommittees and meet with the appropriate subcommittees when required.
  • Encourage and facilitate the active participation of the YPA in the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) in collaboration with the Yale Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. The co-chairs shall endeavor to keep up to date with respect to the activities of the NPA, or have another YPA member responsible for reporting.

Professional Development Subcommittee Coordinators

The role of the professional development subcommittee is to organize career events, seminars, and workshops with the goal of preparing postdocs for careers both inside and outside of academia. The responsibilities of the professional development subcommittee coordinators are as follows:

  • Maintain a strong relationship with the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), including sustaining a productive dialogue, representing postdoc needs to the CTL, organizing events in collaboration with the CTL and ensuring postdocs are aware of opportunities provided by the CTL.
  • Maintain a strong relationship with the Office of Career Strategy (OCS), including sustaining a productive dialogue, representing postdoc needs to the OCS, organizing events in collaboration with the OCS and ensuring postdocs are aware of opportunities provided by the OCS.
  • The coordinators shall be appointed to the position of “liaison to CTL” or “liaison to OCS” to facilitate cooperation with these organizations. The liaison to OCS shall attend the monthly Student Advisory Board meeting to engage with OCS and other student/postdoc groups on campus.
  • Ensure that postdocs are aware of opportunities and events hosted by other organizations on campus related to professional development at Yale University.
  • Collaborate with other professional development organizations on campus, such as the Biomedical Careers Committee, CNSPY, and the Science Diplomats to co-organize events of interest to postdocs.
  • Compile and maintain a collection of on campus and off campus resources for the support of the career development of postdocs.
  • Develop and organize YPA events focused on career development, such as the Postdoc Career Café and Postdoc Orientation 201, and collaborate with the Communication officers to advertise these events.

Networking Subcommittee Coordinators

The role of the Networking subcommittee is to organize events to bring postdocs together in informal settings with the goal of facilitating collaboration and friendships across all disciplines at Yale University. The responsibilities of the Networking subcommittee coordinators are as follows:

  • Maintain a strong relationship with the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), including sustaining a productive dialogue, representing postdoc needs to the OISS, organizing events in collaboration with the OISS and ensuring postdocs are aware of opportunities provided by the OISS.
  • Collaborate with other campus organizations to facilitate networking opportunities for postdocs on campus and in the community.
  • Organize a monthly happy hour for the Friday after the OPA’s postdoc orientation.
  • Develop and organize YPA events focused on networking and community outreach, such as the Postdoc Potluck and Food Drive, and collaborate with the Communication officers to advertise these events.

Advocacy Subcommittee Coordinators

The role of the Advocacy subcommittee is to advocate on behalf of postdocs to address unmet needs in the postdoc community, including those related to inclusion, diversity and their general wellbeing, and identify areas where the YPA can support postdocs to enrich their experience at Yale University. The responsibilities of the Advocacy subcommittee coordinators are as follows:

  • Maintain a strong relationship with campus entities such as the Office of Postdoctoral affairs, Medical School Dean of Diversity, the Yale Minority Scientist Research Network, and the Advisory Committee for Postdoctoral Affairs, in order to represent postdoc needs and work collaboratively toward productive action for underrepresented postdocs at Yale University.
  • Compile demographic data on Yale University’s postdoc community to identify underrepresented groups, and educate the Yale University community on these disparities.
  • Generate and maintain a collection of on campus and off campus resources to empower the postdoc community, particularly members of underrepresented groups, those with disabilities, and individuals facing discrimination or harassment.
  • Identify and promote solutions for issues facing postdocs at Yale University, such as affordable and safe housing, health insurance and fair wages.
  • Develop and organize YPA events to support and celebrate diversity and inclusion of all postdocs within the Yale University postdoc community, and collaborate with the Communication officers to advertise these events.
  • Communicate relevant campus and off-campus events that support and celebrate a diverse Yale University/New Haven community, and collaborate with the Communication officers to advertise these events.

Communication Officers

The role of the Communications Officers is two-fold. First, they shall facilitate communication between the YPA and the postdoctoral community. Second, they shall act as the contact point for the communities and organizations that want to connect with the YPA. To achieve these goals, the responsibilities of the Communication Officers are:

  • Maintain a strong relationship with the Association of Yale Alumni (AYA), including sustaining a productive dialogue, representing postdoc needs to the AYA, organizing events in collaboration with the AYA and ensuring postdocs are aware of opportunities provided by the AYA.
  • Collaborate with subcommittee coordinators to advertise YPA events
  • Manage the YPA website by keeping it up-to-date, adding events to the calendar, and adding new sections and resources when necessary
  • Manage the YPA Facebook group
  • Produce a monthly YPA newsletter
  • Present at the new postdoc orientation to introduce the YPA to new postdocs and invite them to participate in YPA events, subcommittees and other activities.
  • Promote the mission and values of the YPA to other communities, inside and outside of Yale University, and mediate the initial contact between these organizations and the appropriate YPA subcommittees.